I’m Not Lucky I’m Blessed

Deciding to attend Central Michigan University has been the best decision in my life to this point. I am blessed to be able to call this place my second home. I have already changed and grown so much in just one short year of college. I came into college not knowing my future and just about anyone here. That soon changed with my LAS family! 47 amazing people that I am lucky enough to call my friends. They have taught me so much and made me want to be a better person.

img_1679img_1100

I came to Central as an uninformed kid that loved people, but was clueless about the issues around the world. There is so much change that needs to happen around the world and I know my fellow LASers and I are gonna make a difference in the world. Saving the world, whether it be the environment (no more disposable plastic water bottles), going Vegan (meat is too good for me to stop), or just being more knowledgeable and aware. I do not tell everyone in my cohort enough just how amazing they are.

I realize this transition could have not been easy on my parents. I came close to commuting to a university near my hometown which would have saved me & my parents a lot of money  and student loans. After meeting Dan Gaken and other Leadership staff, my wise older sisters and parents encouraged me to go to CMU because they knew how much I would gain from the Leadership Program. Going from 4 kids living at home, to now an empty house. They have been nothing but supportive. They are always pushing me to do better and improve. My first semester was defenitely a challenge academically which I never faced previously in my schooling. I was surrounded by the support of Dan, my mentor, & many positive LAS’ers  who had high standards & similar interests which made the transition easy. I have learned so much and made the necessary changes to be successful. I can take everything I have learned into the future with me so that I can be and do anything that I put my heart into.
     I have been lucky enough to receive a wonderful mentor; Bellal, and brother; Nate,  volunteer and give back in Detroit, attend leadership conferences where I was inspired, go on weekend retreats where we bonded, listen to amazing speakers, meet the president, and make life long friends. This is only the start of what LAS has offered me. 

Living on campus, I have become a part of Program Board, volunteered around Mt. Pleasant, became an intramural champion in co-ed dodge-ball (with only a team of 6 against all teams of 7),  and lost the championship game of bubble soccer (we should have won if 26 year old nurses didn’t beat us :), fundraising and participating in Relay for Life, which is near to my heart, and all the future opportunities I will have to be involved in.
I was lucky enough to live in a Dorm where we are truly a community. Barnes has given me lifelong friends I will treasure forever, an important support system and many lifelong memories. Warm weather finally hits and everyone goes outside to hangout, do homework, and get a little competitive in volleyball. We stay up late writing blog posts, making cookies for competition day, going on long boarding trips (even though I am not the best), supporting each other, or just simply hanging out.

img_1731img_1521
Everything I have done in college has improved me as a person and allowed me to grow as a leader. I can’t even imagine my life without having such a strong leader & mentor in Dan and the LI. I now have a passion to make everyone feel special, because you do not know what someone is going through and even just a few kind words could have a positive effect on them. I have improved my facilitation skills which I hope to always keep improving on. My eyes have been opened and I have a new overall compassion as a person. Although Engineering is usually not common as a leadership fulfilling major, I am excited and will strive to become a leader in the field and use my knowledge for the benefit of others.

A true leader understands cultural differences and that every individual they encounter is different and can lead in their own way. If you know what is going on around you, you can be more effectuve in how you lead. I hope I have expressed the positive and life altering affect college has had on me so far. It is hard to put in words how special this place is to me. I am blessed to call it my second home. Most people say they love their college and the opportunities it brings, but I truly mean it. The campus is so inviting, there is a common passion to make a difference, and the focus on the importance of Leadership makes CMU so amazing. I could never write about all of the positive impact CMU & most importantly the LI,  has had on me but I hope you get the scope of it.  I can not wait to see what the future holds.

The Future Roomies. I am ready for the crazy ride we are about to have next year in Emmons with everyone else that is also joining us!

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Spark of Leadership

The Spark Leadership series is put on by the Leadership Institute to give students a passion for Leadership and make connections with other students. Spark is a four week program that is 2 hours every Thursday night. More info can be obtained here. LAS is required to attend once our Freshman year. I enjoyed the experience and hope to be able to be a co-coordinator in the future.

Spark started with a presentation from our coordinators, followed by getting into our groups. I was lucky enough to be on Team Collaborated lead by Sophomore LASers James Barber and Angie Distelrath.

image

Team Collaboration!!

 

We got to do some activities to bond with our group. The next week got to learn our Leadership styles. I am a Direct Leader which means … The third session was a Challenge day with our groups. Each person got their chance to take a lead on a challenge. I love participating in team challenges like this. I love a good challenge and enjoy the comradery you feel in succeeding in a group. The last day of Spark put everything we learned and know about Leadership into one activity. Everyone was split into two groups that were given different cultures, ways of speaking, and rules to follow. It is hard to explain in full, but basically the culture I was in started every confrontation with a hug and asking about a male in their life. You proceded to play a card game. Students from the other group came over to participate in our group which lead to mass confusion. Personally, if you did not get to visit the other group the activity did not have much of an effect on me. This also might have been due to me being sick.

Overall, I thought Spark was a good event and I am happy I got to participate. The best part of my experience was being able to learn about my Leadership style. Now that I know my style I can work on my weaknesses and continue to do the things I do well. Spark is just one of the many things the Leadership Institute puts on to spread Leadership throughout campus at the wonderful Central Michigan University.

Leadership Safari

Leadership Safari is a great way for incoming freshman and transfer students to get introduced to Central Michigan University’s campus and meet many incoming freshman. Leadership Safari started in 1996 when it had 65 students to 2014 with 1,976 students and even more in 2015. I am lucky to have been able to attend the program this year. I was a participant this year and hope to be a part of the staff this upcoming year. Coming into Safari, I was worried if I would like my group and if I would actually meet anyone cool. I had seen the video from the year before and had high expectations but a little doubt always comes with that.

The very first night of Safari, we got to meet with our groups and introduce ourselves. The first two days we were pretty separated form our groups. On the third day we started being with our groups most of the day and we started to gel. By the end of Safari our group was very close and I feel as if i could ask any of them for help or their opinion. A big point that was being pushed during Safari was that everyone has a story and you can not tell that by just looking at them. All groups are random and many activities work to put you in groups with people you do not know and forces you to participate. This helps you learn more people and put yourself out there.

I think this event was very eye opening and gives you an advantage coming into college that someone who didn’t participate would not receive. We got to talk a lot about how the world is avery judgemental place where people are judged before someone has time to get to know them. I am going to personally work on not judging anyone by appeatance and give them a chance to show their personality before I come to conclusions. I think anyone can benefit by having this mindset. In my opinion this is an important trait for a leader to have. They must gain relationships to have more of an effect on somebody and for them to listen to what you have to say. I am very happy to have had this experience at Leadership Safari and can not wait for many more in my time at the wonderful Central Michigan University.

image2